In today's fast-paced world, designers do not have the luxury of time. Furthermore, software is more flexible, allowing a number of design iterations in various textures and finishes at very little extra effort.
Bentley's MicroStation is one such offering. Masterpiece, the photo-realistic rendering engine, is a standard component with each copy of MicroStation. And one of the no-cost options when acquiring MicroStation is Modeler, the solid and surface modelling engine.
Driven by the Parasolid solid modelling engine, Modeler allows designers to create complex 3D engineering models efficiently. Without cumbersome sketching and constraint processing, designers can create many models with tools such as parametric primitives, Boolean operations, parametric projections and rotations.
These geometry-creation methods, when combined with advanced modelling techniques such as thin shelling, surface thickening, applied draft angles, and feature location and manipulation, create an advanced, yet easy-to-use, 3D modelling environment. Parametric features such as constant or variable radius blends, chamfers, cuts, holes, bosses and ribs complete the modelling process.
Furthermore, NURBS-based surface modelling is available to design engineers who need high-end surfacing for body panel design, highly stylised consumer products, and other applications that require complex surface geometry.
Modeler supports a wide range of surfaces including derived, general, space, offset, network and cubic surfaces. With Modeler's powerful modelling capabilities, one can sweep, revolve, extrude and produce helical surfaces.
To further enhance the ability to manage surfaces, new surface and curve evaluator tools have been added to provide property information for surfaces and their curves. In addition there is the ability to flatten a nonplanar curve to a specified plane. These new surface features, combined with MicroStation Modeler's surface stitching, body healing and creation functionality, provide a surface modelling system unique in the mid-range engineering design market.
CNC and FEA
In order to complete the cycle, products have to move seamlessly from the modelling environment into testing and manufacturing. To this end, MicroStation offers integration to high-quality Finite Element Analysis (FEA) and Complete Numeric Control (CNC) solutions.
Although FEA looks easy when demonstrated by a professional, it does require a sound understanding of the principles in order to correctly interpret the data and to prepare a model in such a way as to produce meaningful results. Because of the skills required, Bentley Systems South Africa has formed a relationship with local company Resonant Solutions.
With CNC the secret is to use the original model and not go through a translation process if possible. This becomes more critical, the more complex and accurate the component is. SOLIDCAM, a high-end tool with full 3D machining, is fully integrated with MicroStation. As with FEA, CNC is a specialist application requiring knowledgeable implementation partners. Again, there is a firm relationship between Bentley Systems South Africa and CDC, the local distributors for SOLIDCAM.
"I am sure that anyone would agree that the model on the front cover and on this page is very, very good," says Tex van Deventer, managing director of Bentley Systems South Africa. "What is quite an eye opener is that this was designed by a young man called Socrates Neocleous whilst he was still an industrial design student at Wits Technikon a year or two ago. Today he is in private practice and, judging by his previous work, he will be very successful."
MicroStation Modeler - Bentley Systems South Africa 011 462 5811
Finite Element Analysis - Resonant Solutions 012 667 6272
SOLIDCAM CNC - CNC Design Consultants 011 786 3516
Design services - Socrates Neocleous 083 320 0932